Today, I met with Julia Simpson and David Murphy, from the Environment Agency, to get an update on progress with the Lower River Thames Flood Scheme. The overarching strategy involves building flood river channels upstream, strengthening weir capacity at Sunbury and Molesey, improved property defences, enhanced coordination with local communities at neighbourhood level, and continuing availability of affordable flood risk home insurance through the Flood Re scheme.
The overall cost of the works is £302million, with the Chancellor announcing an extra £60million in December. We face a real challenge over the long-term in ensuring we manage flood risk as effectively as possible. Some of this involves long term investment – so the cash boost is welcome. But, it also means consistent enforcement of planning rules, effective coordination from street level through the different tiers of government, and making local communities aware of the risks and how to mitigate them. I am confident we can adapt to the future flood risks – but it will require a team effort.